Book Review: Tender is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica

Featured

After a grave virus eats away most animal life, Augustina’s characters resort to cannibalism in this dystopian universe.

Genre: Dystopian Fiction

I stumbled across this book and now cannot see the world the same again. This world is entirely life-altering, simply because there are severe parallels between our current factory farming and the world that Bazterrica creates in her novel. Human flesh* (a specific kind of human-bred meat) is nothing more than a way to feed and indulge those who can afford it. 

Breakdown: Augustina does a tremendous job describing the characters and their headspace to her readers in this dystopian world. Once horrified by their choice to eat humans, the main character is now faced with living in their reality, working at a farming factory where they breed, kill, and sell human meat. The narrator describes the laws established to produce this meat, they call “heads” and walks us through the process of treating them like farm animals. These “heads” are tortured, killed, abused, and without dignity (much like factory farming). 

Read it if: You want to be seriously horrified. 

Is it funny: No… oh no..

The cover: An amalgamation of a half-human and half cow (animal), terrifying.

Do I recommend it: I really do. If you’re not into horror or dystopian readings, this is a great one, to begin with. I am still recovering from it…

Rating: 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

Featured

Grab this non-fiction book on Scribd

From breastfeeding etiquette to shopping at Whole Foods, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett writes about the inconspicuous and conspicuous differences in classes one can recognize by observing simple everyday activities.

Genre: Self-help

A colleague of mine amassed a substantial amount of wealth, making it effortless to retire before forty. It got me thinking of what their new life will look like. I’ve always heard how the wealthy take their vacations, shop, and eat, but this time, I wanted to find a book that could tell me more about the differences and similarities between classes in general. This book was a really great start in funding my curiosity. If you rather listen to it, you should try scribd.com

Read it if: You’re up for an entertaining and easy read, filled with neat factoids about classes, happening in real-time.

What’s it about: You’ll learn about the class systems of today and why we do the things we do when it comes to money, class, and status. Elizabeth discusses the aspirational class’s upward mobility to achieve and succeed in everyday social and work life. She does a great job at bringing back historical theorists that discuss the ideas of class and the need to impress or suppress the concept of wealth depending on several geographical, racial, and cultural perspectives.

Is it funny: No, but I find that a non-issue!

The cover: Satisfying to look at, true to the book.

Do I recommend it: I do. I did not expect this book to indulge me the way it did. It was cleverly written and allowed me to see certain examples she used in the book in real-time (cough cough, Whole Foods). Thanks, Elizabeth!

Rating: 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

A horrific fictional encounter with a serial killer. Patrick Bateman, a wealthy Wall Street bachelor, roaming the streets of New York City. Reader beware.

Genre: Transgressive Fiction/Horror

Read it if: You want to have terrible nightmares and irreparable emotional trauma about men, women, puppies, and New York City as a whole. The images haunted me for days. Easton really dives into what this particular serial killer wants, some of which were actually highlighted on Psychology Today: “Understanding What Drives Serial Killers” – a great read, if you’re interested.

Breakdown: New York during the ’80s and revolves around Patrick Bateman. He’s a wealthy investment banker on Wall Street who frequently does drugs, booze, and women when he’s not killing them. The scary thing is that within his friend’s circle, he’s a saint. He seems to suffer from a personality disorder and is a horrible addition to Ellis’s fictitious society.

Is it funny: Nope! The details are so vivid, especially when Bateman kills people, pets, etc. It’s too much gore for my taste.

The cover: He’s totally my type. Seductive, charming, emotionless -kidding. I also watched the movie “American Psycho” starring Christian Bale. Both the film and the book were disturbing. The cover says it all. It’s all about one guy who’s an American, Psycho.

Do I recommend it: I started reading this book in Germany and jet-lagged like no other. Honestly, the only book I had that wasn’t self-help, and I was trying to get out of my norm—big mistake. I would begrudgingly recommend it because of how clear Ellis narrates the story, but I wouldn’t be sad if you didn’t read it. His writing is seamless, and every character is carefully described, even (sadly) the murderous, homophobic, and racist interactions that take place. This was painful to swallow. But I think it’s essential to read controversy, to better understand what it’s capable of. I appreciate writers that take their time to cleverly explain small details that add to a reader’s imagination, be it good or bad, and Ellis does this.

Rating: 3 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️